London, Nov 1 : Scientists at the University of California, Irvine, have claimed that they have found a way to improve and even restore cognitive function in people suffering from fragile X, the most commonly inherited form of learning disability.
Fragile X is caused by mutation of a gene called FMRl on the X chromosome.
The mutation prevents the brain from developing properly, leading to a form of mental retardation that has long been considered untreatable. However, researchers, led by Julie Lauterborn, have now devised a new way to improve and even restore cognitive function not only in people suffering from fragile X, but in people with other cognitive impairments as well.
The finding is based on a recent discovery that a naturally occurring protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor may improve and even restore cognitive function in people whose mental abilities are impaired.
The neurotrophic factor is also involved in nerve growth,
The researchers observed positive results after injecting the protein into the brains of mice with fragile X syndrome.
However, they have not yet conducted any tests in humans, reports New Scientist.
The researchers claimed that the treatment is not limited to people with fragile X, as it could prove to be equally beneficial for people with other conditions that lead to learning disabilities, such as Down's syndrome and autism. But, the scientists warned that much more work is needed before the full implications for humans can be understood.